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Meet God at the American Museum of Natural History
Posted on 2001/9/29 23:49:02 ( 760 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today





NEW YORK, NEW YORK, September 30, 2001: Stephen Huyler's other-worldly exhibit "Meeting God, Elements of Hindu Devotion" (see Hinduism Today, Dec 1996) which began five years ago at the Sackler Museum in Washington, D.C., has been taken to new dimensions at its present location in the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City. The renowned venue, considered the root of modern anthropological science, boasts some of the most highly skilled presentation designers and craftsmen in the world. When the exhibit arrived for installation, 100 museum staff members turned their creative powers from dinosaurs to spiritual display -- showing to the world the ways of Hindu worship at home, village, temple and in personal experience. New York Hindus are full of praise. Jyotirmoy Datta wrote in India Abroad, "After visiting the stunning exhibition, one is .... inclined to murmur, 'Why travel to Tirupati or Hardwar when you can spend enchanting hours at this great institution in Manhattan getting glimpses of the world's most ancient religion still practiced today by almost a billion inhabitants of this planet?' " Stephen Huyler, the visionary behind the exhibit, has managed to convey his own "awe that the Divine permeates the daily lives of hundreds of millions of human beings in almost every aspect of their existence." He even had the exhibit consecrated by a priest. After the events of September 11, people are coming not only to see but to pray, for solace and to make offerings.




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India Fears Flare-up Between Hindus and Muslims
Posted on 2001/9/29 23:48:02 ( 706 reads )


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ALIGARH, INDIA, September 28, 2001: One of the biggest fears for Indian authorities since the attacks on New York and Washington has been that the fallout could trigger a fresh flare-up between the country's Hindus and Muslims. Fully 85% of India's more than one billion people are Hindu, but the population includes 12% or 120 million Muslims, and tensions between the two communities, which live side by side across the heartland of the nation, are never far from the surface. Places such as Aligarh, 75 miles southeast of New Delhi in the midst of the mustard and wheat fields of the fertile Ganges floodplain, have in the past been torn by weeks of pitched sectarian battles, often triggered by something as innocuous as a squabble among children. "There have been so many riots here in the past that people now know the reality - only innocents suffer," Brij Bhushan, the chief of police for Aligarh district, said this week. "We can pray for the Muslims in Afghanistan, but that's it, [that is, no political activism is allowed]," said Rehan Salim, a Muslim resident who said he had witnessed riots in the town in the late 1970s and the 1980s. Scores were killed in that fighting and Aligarh, a city of 800,000, was often placed under 24-hour curfew. "No one - Hindu or Muslim - wants to go through that again," Salim said. "People now are more educated, prosperous. They are more interdependent; they don't want to disturb the balance." "The artisans are Muslims, most of the traders are Hindus - they cannot live without each other," said Bhushan, the police chief. "A riot throws this whole thing out of balance." The spread of cable television, with its blanket coverage of American soap operas and Hollywood glamour, has also made sectarian strife seem outdated. "Our children eat onions and meat now," said R.C. Aggarwal, a Hindu. Many Hindus are vegetarian, and some also do not eat garlic and onions; most Muslims eat meat. "The Muslims are becoming more like us and we are becoming more like them," he said. "We all watch television . . . we are all becoming Americanized."




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Pandit Roop Sukhram at Prayer for America September 23
Posted on 2001/9/29 23:47:02 ( 1040 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, September 30, 2001: Our thanks to several readers who informed us that the Hindu priest at the September 23 gathering, Prayer for America, at Yankee Stadium, New York was Pandit Roop Sukhram of the Hindu Sharam Temple in Brooklyn. His said to the assembled mourners, most relatives of victims of the attack, "On September 11, we have seen two kinds of humans. We have seen the humankind who would go to any length, giving their own lives to hurt others. And yes, we have seen kinder humans, who sacrificed their lives in an effort to save others." HPI reader Pradip Sagdeo said, "Pandit was the last religious leader to speak and gave a very eloquent speech in fluent English. I was very happy to hear and see him on TV."




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Catholic School Book Upsets Shiv Sena
Posted on 2001/9/29 23:46:02 ( 797 reads )


Source: The Hindustan Times





MUMBAI, INDIA, September 23, 2001: A Class VI handbook authored by human rights activist and joint editor of "Communalism Combat," Teesta Setalvad, has attracted criticism from local Hindus. The handbook, which describes the famed warrior Shivaji as a sudra, is given to teachers at Mumbai's Don Bosco Catholic school. The book traces the rise of Shivaji from humble beginnings to fame and glory and praises him representing the toiling peasants and battling caste barriers. However the word sudra did not go down too well with some parents who approached the local Shiv Sena unit. The school authorities say that they have been asked to withdraw the book. They are planning to take up the issue with the human rights bodies.




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Americans of All Faiths Unite in Prayer at Yankee Stadium
Posted on 2001/9/28 23:49:02 ( 809 reads )


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NEW YORK, USA, September 24, 2001: Representatives of New York's broad spectrum of faiths took the field of Yankee Stadium on Sunday for a flag-draped gathering of prayer for the victims of terrorism. The service, "A Prayer for America" culminated in Lee Greenwood's rendition of God Bless the USA. Muslims, Hindus, Protestants, Sikhs, Greek Orthodox stepped up to offer prayers. The crowd also rose to its feet when Imam Izak-El M. Pasha pleaded, "Do not allow the ignorance of people to have you attack your good neighbors. We are Muslims, but we are Americans." Media photographs show a Hindu representative on the stage, but he is not named. HPI requests anyone who knows his name to send it to us at ar@hindu.org.




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"Please Don't Forget Us," Say New York's Relief Workers
Posted on 2001/9/28 23:48:02 ( 742 reads )


Source: Religion Today





NEW YORK, USA, September 27, 2001: Now that the burning, collapsing towers aren't being flashed across TV screens every few minutes, some in the relief community fear America will begin to forget. Larry Jones, founder of Feed the Children said, while everyone is stepping forward today, he is concerned about next week and next month. Just hours after the terrorist attack in New York, Chaplain Bob Vickers was in "the spiritual emergency room," as he called it, created in the moment at the local hospital. "The crush of human need is indescribable," said Vickers. People from all walks of life and faiths -- Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu -- needed help. The article does not mention Hindu ministers doing this kind of work, but the need is there on a continuing basis and the local temples, ashrams and societies should find ways to continue to help people through a long process of healing and rebuilding.




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Attack on America -- Further Astrological Analysis
Posted on 2001/9/28 23:47:02 ( 719 reads )


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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, September 29, 2001: Chakrapani Ullal, one of the world's foremost Hindu astrologers, continues his analysis of the Attacks on America at "source" above. An excerpt: "What does all this mean? The question arises 'Will there be a War in the traditional sense?' The planets currently and in the future do indicate there are a certain amount of challenges our country will face, especially during April, May and June of 2002. And, as I mentioned earlier there are tense moments between December and February but I don't think there is a real war in the traditional sense. It is my opinion, there could be a war in the non-traditional sense. The country's chart is very strong and during the Moon Dashas, which we are in currently, even though the Moon is blemished because it is the ruler of the 8th house in the 3rd house, still it is well-placed, favorably aspected and the 5th house of the moon is extremely powerful indicating the ability of the administration to manage the country's affairs skillfully with the least amount of suffering. But one cannot forget natural calamities affecting the country during this period of the malefic transits."




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Sri Ganapati Sacchidananda's Devotees to Weigh Him in Gold
Posted on 2001/9/28 23:46:02 ( 678 reads )


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BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA, September 29, 2001: Devotees of Sri Ganapati Sacchidananda have scheduled a "swarna tulabharam" for Swamiji's 60th birthday June, 2002. The money raised by weighing Swamiji against gold will go to benefit the Amma Vodi project to address the needs of destitute women through the establishment of a rehabilitation center in Hyderabad. This expression of gratitude is mentioned in scriptures such as Skanda Purana and has been performed from time to time. With the price of gold today, US$290/ounce, a 130-pound person worth his weight in gold would fetch $603,200.




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October First Is World Vegetarian Day
Posted on 2001/9/28 23:45:02 ( 749 reads )


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USA, September 29, 2001: World Vegetarian Day has been celebrated since 1977. It brings awareness to the ethical, environmental, health and humanitarian benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle. About one million people a year become vegetarians in the US, this report claims.




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Divorce Case Dismissals Soar Since September 11 in Houston
Posted on 2001/9/27 23:49:02 ( 703 reads )


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HOUSTON, TEXAS, September 25, 2001: Dismissals in divorce cases have skyrocketed in the Harris County Texas Family Law courts since Sept. 11. Couples now say they will try to patch things up. The Houston Chronicle reports that in the 10 working days since the day tragedy struck, about 400 family-law suits have been dismissed. "It's a small sample, but one supported by anecdotal evidence from lawyers with clients who suddenly want to stop even contentious divorces." One lawyer, Annette Henry, said she received telephone calls from clients right after the explosions, canceling their appointments. She waited for them to reschedule, but instead heard them say, "I just couldn't go through with it. Now I want to keep the family together." Henry says when someone files for divorce, the problems seem huge and insurmountable ... but with a tragedy like this, whatever (the problem) was, no longer seems so significant. David Wells, associate minister of counseling services at a Houston church is not surprised by the trend. He says people are finally working seriously on their marriages, wanting to get their lives in order, and asking for emergency help with their relationship problems.




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Hamilton Temple Makes Appeal for Funds
Posted on 2001/9/27 23:48:02 ( 725 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today





HAMILTON, ONTARIO, CANADA, September 28, 2001: Hundreds of Hindus mourn the loss of their sanctuary, as the Hindu Samaj of Hamilton Temple was deliberately set ablaze on Saturday September 15, 2001, in a mistaken backlash crime to the attacks on America. The fire totally destroyed the temple's main Prayer Hall, leaving much of the temple unstable. In addition, nine priceless icons of the Gods as well as hundreds of irreplaceable holy book were lost in the fire. Officials have concluded that this was an act of arson and are continuing to investigate the case. Insurance coverage is unable to match the cost of the damages, inhibiting the community from promptly rebuilding their temple. As such, many Hindus are without a place of worship until suitable funds are collected. The temple has issued this appeal: "Our dedicated volunteers have taken on themselves to collect necessary funds. In addition, we have established an account at Canada Trust/TD Bank account. Please deposit your donations in this account (account # 160-5000-873). Or call to make a pledge at 1-800-667-1069. We ask all communities to donate generously to help us get back on our feet and stand together against hate crime. e-mail contact: hindusamajhamilton@hotmail.com.




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Bill in Congress to Set Limits on Church-Sponsored Lobbying
Posted on 2001/9/27 23:47:02 ( 801 reads )


Source: Religion News Service





WASHINGTON, D.C., September 28, 2001: A bill recently introduced in Congress would allow churches to spend 20 percent of their money on lobbying and up to 5 percent on campaigning for or against individual candidates without risk of losing their tax-exempt status. Rep. Phil Crane, R-Ill., introduced the "Bright-Line Act of 2001," which would make clear how much churches can engage in political activities. Currently, churches are allowed to push political causes as long as such activities do not constitute a "substantial" part of the congregation's work -- widely interpreted to be about 5 percent. "Given the state of confusion surrounding the activities allowed by religious organizations, I believe it's time that Congress draw a bright line between sanctioned and unsanctioned activities that religious groups can participate in," Crane said. A "church" is an organization so designated by the Internal Revenue Service after meeting certain criteria (see www.t-tlaw.com/cf-14.shtml) and may be of any religion. Only a few Hindu temples (such as the Sringeri Sadhana Center in Pennsylvania and Barsana Dham in Texas) have taken advantage of the considerable freedom and privileges allowed by the church IRS designation. Most Hindu temples are religions organizations under the IRS and subject to much more stringent reporting and limitations.




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Multiethnic Solidarity Marks San Jose Vigil
Posted on 2001/9/26 23:49:02 ( 808 reads )


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SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA, September 24, 2001: In a show of diversity, San Jose's first major public memorial to the victims of the terrorist attacks was led Sunday by clerics representing six faiths: Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism and Islam. Many of the 1,200 people gathered not only to pray for the victims but also to show their solidarity with their adopted country. "Today we send the victims our prayers in every language and every faith. We will not forget them," said San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales. "We must embrace each other, embrace our differences and share our common beliefs -- democracy, liberty, tolerance and justice." The more than 30 Indo-American groups that participated also kicked off a US$1 million fundraising campaign for the victims. The community is organizing volunteer efforts, ranging from a blood drive to a list of software engineers willing to help New York get back on line. About half of California's 314,000 Indo-Americans live in the Bay Area.




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Sikhs Hire Public Relations Firm
Posted on 2001/9/26 23:48:02 ( 670 reads )


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EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY, September 26, 2001: Sikhs in America continue a proactive response to incidents of harassment following the terrorist attacks. They've hired a public relations firm, MWW Group of East Rutherford, for an educative campaign that stresses tolerance for all minorities. It is also promotes the message that Sikhs have no political, religious or cultural links to followers of Osama bin Laden or the Taliban. No advertising is planned, but the firm is arranging for Sikhs to be interviewed by reporters. More than 500,000 Sikhs live in the United States.




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Supreme Court Restricts Festival Firecrackers
Posted on 2001/9/26 23:47:02 ( 676 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, September 27, 2001: A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Chief Justice A.S. Anand, Justice R.C. Lahoti and Justice Ashok Bhan, directed that no firecrackers be burst which could produce a noise beyond 125 decibels and that no cracker could be burst except between 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm during Diwali and Dussera festivals. Fire crackers are forbidden completely in designated "silent zones." The Court directed all the states and Union territories to strictly enforce these directions contained in the central government regulations issued on October 5, 1995.




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